In London, a secret society led by lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew collects the assets of any of its deceased members and divides them among the remaining members. Society members start dropping like flies. Sherlock Holmes is approached by member James Murphy's widow, who is miffed at being left penniless by her husband. When Captain Pyke is shot, Holmes keys in on his mysterious Chinese widow as well as the shady Merrydew. Other members keep dying--Malcom Dearing first, then Mr. Baker. There is also an attempt on the life of young Eileen Forrester, who became a reluctant society member upon the death of her father. Holmes' uncanny observations and insights are put to the test.
February 20, 2015 Subject:
This reviewing system is acting weirdly. A new review seems to replace an older one by the same person.
August 19, 2011 Subject:
The movie has NOTHING to do with Doyle's novel
I would call it a good Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
The movie is set in the 1920s and not in the 1880s.
July 6, 2011 Subject:
A fine Sherlock Holmes adaptation
I found this movie to be quite entertaining. The credits did indicate that the movie was "suggested" by the Doyle story, which should have told everyone that it was not a literal portrayal. Also, the use of 221A Baker instead of 221B may well have been a nod to that artistic license.
Owen's Holmes was very credible, I thought, and his disguise scene was outstanding - far superior to any of those attempted by Rathbone's Holmes.
Hard to believe they could get the most famous address in all of literature wrong!
One the plus side: atmospheric, nice sets.
Never turn down a chance to see the glorious Anna May Wong.
November 28, 2010 Subject:
This movie is not bad for it's time but...
...it suffers from what I call "The Silent Syndrome." It seems to me as though the actors and director were having trouble making a sound picture. This makes the movie seem to plod along.
In the early 30's, as films with sound became the new milieu, actors and directors began to adapt to the change in the medium, and the pace became quicker. This movie looks like a silent movie - with sound.
I won't penalize the director for struggling with the learning curve, and will give it three stars.
March 8, 2009 Subject:
Good beginning and ending... but,
The movie moves pretty somthly at the beginning and at the end it does well... The middle moved too slowly for me. I would have preferred to cut a lot of it out.
Fair ratings for this Holmes movie.
August 21, 2007 Subject:
BE HE NEVER SO HUMBLE, THERE'S NO POLICE LIKE HOLMES
I tend to agree with the other reviewers on this one. Up to a point, that is. Reginald Owen is NOT the best screen Holmes...but he's really not the worst, either. He's not PHYSICALLY right for the part, of course, being built more like Mycroft than Sherlock...but other actors who may not have matched the physical description have managed rather well despite that. Peter Cushing and Stewart Granger come to mind. (They both appeared as Holmes in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES---different VERSIONS, of course and Cushing went on to play the part on British televison with Hayley Mills' dad as his Watson. Granger's Watson was Bernard Fox (forever beloved as Dr. Bombay from BEWITCHED) while Cushing's in the Hammer Hound was Andre Morell who worked with the daughter of Cushing's OTHER Watson (John Mills) in THE MOONSPINNERS. OK, are we all confused?
Back to this version of A STUDY IN SCARLET. One reviewer comments that the writers borrowed some material from Dame Agatha Christie. Actually, it's the other way 'round, if anything, since this film appeared in 1933 and Agatha Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS (not the original title btw...that has been sanitized to remove the "N word" that originally appeared after LITTLE) was not published until 1939.
But ok, this film is not the best. BUT it has some redeeming qualities which should be mentioned: Billy Bevan as the bibulous Will Swallow is great fun to watch, Alan Dinehart as the villanous Thaddeus Merridew is suitably sinister, and Anna May Wong as the sleekly seductive widow of Captain Pyke (or IS she???) is perfection. And I should mention that Mr. Warburton Gamble's Watson is above average also.
I wouldn't advise giving this one a miss, but for those who grew up on later interpretations of the character of Holmes will need to adjust your sensibilities a bit. Keep an open mind. I'll just briefly add that you will see both Billy Bevan and Halliwell Hobbes (who plays Malcolm Dearing in this film) popping up in the Rathbone/Bruce series of films. Bevan in TERROR BY NIGHT (1946) and Hobbes in SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943). I'll give this one four stars for a job well done by the ensemble cast.
Die-hard Sherlock Holmes fans may enjoy this movie, but it's not one that I'd personally recommend. The movie isn't exactly bad, but it lacks the energy that suffuses a good Sherlock Holmes film. It seems to move flatly from one plot point to another, with nothing in the movie to possibly get the viewer interested in what's going on. Reginald Owen plays a passionless, self-important Holmes who shows little of the brilliance and none of the vivacity of Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone's takes on the character.
The plot only bears a glancing relationship to Conan Doyle's 'A Study In Scarlet' (not surprising, since it was his first and far from his best Holmes story) and the writers seem to have decided to throw in a liberal mixture of Agatha Christie in the form of the poem from 'Ten Little Indians' for good measure.
December 13, 2006 Subject:
This is good
What a polite, gentile, little movie.
You will like it.